Posted by: koolwine | July 5, 2018

Liechtenstein: Stamping Grounds

In 2002, journalist Charlie Connelly followed the fourth tiniest nation in the world’s football (soccer) team as they competed in World Cup qualifying matches against some of Europe’s most celebrated teams and athletes. For these gritty underdogs—primarily non-professionals who must ask their regular employers for days off to compete—a 0-1, 0-2 or even a 0-3 loss means a well-played game. Connelly not only covers the team, but also delves into the history and culture of Liechtenstein, trying to discover “what makes a Liechtensteiner a Liechtensteiner.” 

Country Focus: Liechtenstein

Stamping Grounds: Liechtenstein’s Quest for the World Cup
By Charlie Connelly
Published by Little, Brown, 2002.
326 pgs.

Genre: Sports nonfiction

About the author:  Connelly had written four other books about football (soccer) before Stamping Grounds attracted critics’ attention. He changed topics completely with his next book Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast, which became a bestseller in his native England. Nearly a dozen other books have followed.

World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)

Charlie Connelly

Quote:

For the second time in the opening ten minutes, Liechtenstein had threatened the Austrian goal, and had already enjoyed more possession than they had in the whole of their last away game in Alicante. Gigon was having a fine game on the left, Frick and Beck were making nuisances of themselves up front and the Austrians were failing to exert any kind of dominance on the game. For the 13,000-strong Innsbruck crowd, this wasn’t how it was meant to be. It was then that I noticed something curious. When I first heard it, I thought it must have been my imagination. But no, it was true. Above the whistles of the home support I could definitely hear a chant of ‘Liechtenstein (clap clap clap)!’ My eyes swiveled to the other end of the pitch and there, behind Jehle’s goal, was a knot of about a hundred people grouped around a large blue-and-red Liechtenstein flag. Not only had Liechtenstein brought some fans, the encouraging start to the game for the visitors had provoked them into audible support.

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